The ‘Times of India’ on October 23, 2006 had shocking news for India. It is a warning bell for all bad things to come from a rogue neighbours. And unfortunately one can’t change one’s neighbours. You are to find a way to live with the rogue ones too. You will have to develop all strength, both physical as well intellectual, to demand respect. The news runs as follows:
The Chinese are planning to dam the Brahmaputra River, known as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet, at the Shuomatan point (also known as the big U turn) in China and diverting 200 billion cubic metres of water annually to feed the aging Yellow river through a series of tunnels. The project presents an enormous engineering challenge, but with technology available today, it is doable. China has been known to undertake, and complete, seemingly impossible engineering feats – the Lhasa railway and Three Gorges Dam instantly.
As reported, the plan has the blessings of Chinese president Hu Jintao, a hydro engineer by profession. The project plans to take the diverted water to the country’s northeast – Shaanxi, Hebei, Beijing and Tianjin. If the project goes through, it could strangle one of India and Bangladesh’s biggest sources of water.
The proposed project, called the ‘Greater Western Water Diversion Project’, is part of the gigantic South-North water project that has already been started by China. In August, the Chinese government sanctioned 300 billion yuan to divert water from the upper reaches of the Yangtze river in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau to the upper reaches of the Yellow river in north-western China. It will bring water from the Yalong, Dadu and Jinsha rivers, which are tributaries of the Yangtze, to the upper reaches of the Yellow river.
China today has all the economic and political clout to carry out the project once it decides to go ahead and if that is the way to save the Yellow river. India can only present its case, but it is to be seen if China agrees and drops the project for the sake of Bangladesh and India. And again even if China agrees, what is the guarantee that it would abide by its agreement.
Recently China had built a dam on the Sutlej River. The Chinese foreign ministry acknowledged the dam in Zhada in Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), and confirmed to have “considered fully the impact on lower reaches.” India and China even signed an agreement on sharing information on Sutlej, yet during the 2005 Pareechu lake crisis, India drew little comfort from the pact.
Surprisingly, India has not yet talked on the issue with China? Will India take it up with Hu during his impending visit to New Delhi or remain quiet to be known as a good neighbour till the project gets completed? Unfortunately, even after the report in the media, the government doesn’t think it necessary to come out with some clarification to take fear out of the mind of the people of India. As reported, the Indian security officials opine that the prospects of geological disturbances alone may be a big enough challenge to make the project impossible. Why can’t some authentic experts from the Geological Survey of India come out with their views?
Sometimes, I feel miserable when I find leftists of India talking and behaving as the spokesmen of China. I expect some media person to approach Yechuri for an answer to this threat. With his recent study tour of China for SEZs, Yechury might be able to throw some light in favour of the Chinese project. I can’t expect him to talk anything against his faith gurus and their country.
I am surprised why can’t there be a right of representation of such issues some world body.
Beijing’s message via CPM: let border wait, push for trade first
And I do also realize why Tibet would have been independent of China. Perhaps, it would have been prudent for Pandit Nehru if he had not agreed that Tibet was part of Mainland China.
PS: Latest News
No plans to divert Brahmaputra: China
Beijing: China has denied media reports that it was planning to divert waters of Brahmaputra river to its Yellow river to feed the parched northern regions.
“China has no such plans to build a dam and divert water from Yarlung Zangbo (Brahmaputra) to the Yellow river,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao said here when asked to comment on the issue. Liu said he did not have further information on the issue.
On Monday, the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
“We have understandings with the Chinese side under which they provide hydrological information in respect of Brahmaputra and Sutlej rivers during the flood season for flood control and disaster mitigation in downstream areas. We are discussing with the Chinese side the expansion of this cooperation.” PTI
Can India rely Chinese? But, perhaps, there is nothing that India can do.